The Other Cheek? Some Cheek this!

The Other Cheek? Some Cheek this!
The Other Cheek? Some Cheek this!
The Other Cheek? Some Cheek this!

The last few weeks i was in deep trouble and in doubt about what is right. Struck by losses in France, and earlier the Syrian issue and even some personal losses that occurred to friends i was trying to feel and visualize the loss of all the engaged parties at a very personal level before i could finalize my feelings about it.

If an enemy strikes your left cheek, offer him your right – MK Gandhi

No wonder they would say ‘he (Gandhi) had some cheek’.

In India and maybe in many other countries, we have often laughed at this cheeky suggestion by Gandhi to turn in the other cheek if someone slaps you on your cheek. some cheek! that!

As a child i was often intrigued by this as many people around me would make fun of this statement. It took me about 50 years to understand this. Often we take courage to be something to do with standing up to something and often going ahead and defending what you treasure. So if someone does nothing, he is a wimp, and someone who goes ahead and hits back is brave, nay courageous, for he has risked his whole being behind his action whereas the wimp has risked just his freedom of thought by not retaliating. The wimp is a territory conquered, the retaliator is a traitor or a terrorist as some people define. I see both as variants of being a wimp.

The acceptor or rebeller are both wimps of different varieties. The courageous would neither accept nor deny you a point of view. The real courage is in engaging till resolution – Vineet Raj Kapoor

All the retaliators we see now, have to see our reasoning, but they never will, since whether it is Charles Hebdo or anyone else, even though they may have a great point of view, are not allowing space for the other point of view. So every time they thrust forth their ideas, they see more retaliators being born. Both do not agree to learn from this. The free space is missing.

No one saw that there was another path, another response possible. That’s where i see the genius of Gandhi. He saw that when you offer to take more loss in order to show that you don’t agree, you are still showing your displeasure but not offending the perpetrator. Now that is being courageous! So now the perpetrator must expose himself by continuing to attack or he must expose his lack of courage to pursue his agenda.

His (defier’s) is the sacrifice in the path of progress, same like a soldier’s sacrifice is in the path of possession – Vineet Raj Kapoor

Surely, the one who offers his other cheek is the lamb at the sacrificial altar when he engages with the present. He does not intend to change it. he intends that the perpetrator feels the need to change it. Yes, that path also may be paved with lost lives, but never would the number be as great as those lost in a battle. since he has not asked others to do so.

So then why don’t we follow this path?

Well, the path doesn’t give us option to take lives, it only asks to give a life. We find it unfair if we judge by what we’ve been taught. We want to be fair and take equal number of lives.


Defying is always more difficult than accepting or denying – Vineet Raj Kapoor

Do you realize that even a state/ country which supports an eye for an eye as a punishment of crime would never be able to contain the same feeling in it’s opponent. You can see what is happening around you in the light of this statement. So, the only way peace can be had is not to retaliate, but still stand up. Stand up for anyone who’s stand up. Offer yourself as a target. One thing is for sure, the damages even in this case could be there, but in no way at a scale at which they happen now! A classic example of this is the Dandi March (or salt satyagraha if may). Just walking up to the break the unfair law, not to take advantage of the law but only as a form of protest was a unique idea and the courage of people engaged in it was exemplary.  It does not take courage to be a King and engage your army with the Goliath. It takes courage to be a subject and take up the issue!

If you seek an eye for an eye, in no time the whole world would be blind – MK Gandhi

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